Carnival cruise passengers sue seeking $5,000 a month for life

marinelink.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A group of passengers suing Carnival cruise lines for damages after an engine fire left their ship adrift for days are asking the company to pay $5,000 a month for the rest of their lives for medical bills and mental anguish.


A lawsuit brought by 33 passengers of the ill-fated 2013 voyage could change how cruise lines insulate themselves from legal actions, according to maritime legal experts.

A second pending lawsuit with three-times as many plaintiffs has the potential to further undo the advantageous legal position cruise lines have long enjoyed.

Both cases stem from a February 2013 incident when the Carnival Triumph broke down after launching from Galveston, Texas for what was to be a four-day cruise with a stop in Cozumel, Mexico.

A fire broke out in the ship's engine room as it was returning from Cozumel. The Triumph was left without engine power, or air conditioning and working toilets. Stalled in the Gulf of Mexico for five days, passengers described human waste seeping into hallways, and being forced to sleep on deck under makeshift tarps with no cooked food.

A federal judge in South Florida last week finished hearing three weeks of testimony from passengers and is expected to issue a judgment in the next two months.

The Miami lawsuit is the first from the Triumph incident to go to trial, with others in preparation, according maritime lawyers.

In a statement, Carnival Corp said that while it recognizes its guests experienced uncomfortable conditions, everyone returned safely and were provided with a full refund, a free future cruise and an additional $500 per person.

"This is an opportunistic lawsuit brought by plaintiff's counsel and plaintiffs who seek to make a money grab," a company spokeswoman said.

One of the plaintiffs, Debra Oubre, 59, said she has experienced panic and anxiety attacks since the cruise, and also blames the experience for a urinary tract infection.

"It was chaotic. People were in dire need of help," said Oubre. "We were standing in line for food for five hours."

Federal judge Donald Graham has already ruled that the engine catching on fire is proof alone of negligence on the part of Carnival, a significant blow for the cruise line, according to Robert Peltz, a Miami maritime lawyer.

"It would seem rather obvious that ships shouldn't just catch fire and then have fire suppression systems that don't work," Peltz said.

Carnival has since started a fleet-wide "enhancement," including a major re-wiring of its engine rooms and improvements to fire safety and emergency power features.

Cruise lines like Carnival have successfully inoculated themselves against passenger lawsuits by printing stringent terms on their tickets that require passengers to waive their right to a class-action lawsuit.

Graham's ruling, which is expected to come in the next two months, could find the terms of conditions printed on the tickets, so-called "contracts of adhesion," to be overreaching.

The contracts have rankled some federal judges in southern Florida where several cruise lines are based, according to maritime lawyer, David Neblett. The splintering of myriad cruise cases for relatively meager sums clogs their calendars, he said.

One term of the ticket contract is that passengers can only bring their cases to the Southern District of Florida and plaintiffs lawyers complain that people coming from other states to litigate is too costly for them.

 

By David Quiñones

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Liebherr to Deliver RTGs to Mayotte and Manila

Liebherr confirms orders for variable speed RTGs and electric RTGs. DPWorld Asian Terminals Inc. has placed an order with Liebherr Container Cranes for a further 5 RTGs at its Manila facility.

U.S. Navy Contracts 12 Rapid Response Skimmers

Kvichak Marine won a US Navy contract for 12 30-ft.Rapid Response Skimmers (RRS) for delivery over the next 18 months, with options for up to 30 additional skimmers to be delivered through 2019.

DP World Receives 1st Scheduled Vessel at New Terminal

DP World has yesterday welcomed the first scheduled vessel to call at its new Container Terminal 3 in Jebel Ali, Dubai, as it gears up to serve customers at the state-of-the-art facility.

Legal

WFW Advises ING Bank on $340m Loan Facility for Euronav

Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised ING Bank N.V. (ING) as sole bookrunner and facility agent for a syndicate of banks on a $340 million loan facility made available to Euronav NV.

UN Authorizes Ship Inspections Near Somalia For Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Foster Wheeler & MDM Engineering Merged

Foster Wheeler AG announced today that an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the Company has completed the acquisition of MDM Engineering Group Limited (“MDM”)

Marine Propulsion

Moore Stephens Expects Vessel Operating Cost to Rise

Vessel operating costs are expected to rise by almost three per cent in both 2014 and 2015, according to a new survey by international accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens.

Wärtsilä Steerable Thruster Gets Class Approval

DNV-GL approved the design of the Wärtsilä WST-14 thruster, significant as approval was granted based on a thruster design that has yet to be introduced into full series production.

John Deere Expands Tier 3 Engine Line

John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) has introduced new propulsion ratings to its EPAMarine Tier 3 engine offerings. The new PowerTech 4045TFM85 propulsion ratings expand

Finance

WFW Advises ING Bank on $340m Loan Facility for Euronav

Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised ING Bank N.V. (ING) as sole bookrunner and facility agent for a syndicate of banks on a $340 million loan facility made available to Euronav NV.

Clean Marine Wins New Contract

Clean Marine has been selected by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea to supply exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) for two new MR tankers. IMO’s convention

Moore Stephens Expects Vessel Operating Cost to Rise

Vessel operating costs are expected to rise by almost three per cent in both 2014 and 2015, according to a new survey by international accountant and shipping consultant Moore Stephens.

Marine Power

John Deere Expands Tier 3 Engine Line

John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) has introduced new propulsion ratings to its EPAMarine Tier 3 engine offerings. The new PowerTech 4045TFM85 propulsion ratings expand

Caterpillar: Q3 Results Show Improvement

Caterpillar Inc. today announced its third-quarter results, in which it reported profit per share of $1.63 for the third quarter of 2014, an increase from third-quarter 2013 profit per share of $1.

ABB: Remote Monitoring Link to Fuel Efficiency

Anticipating the maintenance of equipment on board ships in order to increase fuel efficiency could be a “real game changer in the future,” said Andreas Zito, chief technical officer of the V.

Casualties

USCG Monitoring Barge adrift in Beaufort Sea

U.S. Coast Guard personnel and Canadian federal agencies, including the Canadian coast guard, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, are monitoring a 134-foot

Three Dead in Offshore Platform Accident

Three workers were killed and one is still missing after an accident at one of the offshore oil and gas platforms in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, Azeri state energy company SOCAR said on Thursday.

Documentary Examines Shipbreaking Practices in Bangladesh

Toxic ships for Bangladesh: TV documentary on German ship owners and their shipbreaking practices A new documentary titled "Giftiger Tankerschrott für Bangladesch

Maritime Safety

UN: Ship Inspections near Somalia for Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Liebherr to Deliver RTGs to Mayotte and Manila

Liebherr confirms orders for variable speed RTGs and electric RTGs. DPWorld Asian Terminals Inc. has placed an order with Liebherr Container Cranes for a further 5 RTGs at its Manila facility.

U.S. Navy Contracts 12 Rapid Response Skimmers

Kvichak Marine won a US Navy contract for 12 30-ft.Rapid Response Skimmers (RRS) for delivery over the next 18 months, with options for up to 30 additional skimmers to be delivered through 2019.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1699 sec (6 req/sec)